1917 questions extravaganza
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  1. #1
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    1917 questions extravaganza

    Sorry for the mess of questions that is about to follow, but here goes:

    The gun in the photograph belonged to my grandfather. He’d owned it since at least the 1950s. Sometime after that one of his buddies broke the crane on it, and that is the condition that I found it in when I inherited it several years ago.

    The odd thing about the gun as it came to me is that it has a 45 Colt cylinder.

    The serial number on the broken crane does not match the serial number on the frame.

    I finally got a replacement crane, and as you can see in the photograph it is not nicely blued like the gun.

    My grandpa wasn’t the kind a guy to customize stuff, so I’m wondering how this came into his possession in this caliber. I see on the Colt Fever website that after the war Colt cobbled some together with leftover parts and offered 45 Colt. It’s also of course possible that somebody did the swap for him, or maybe he did it himself I truly don’t know. Is it possible this thing is one of the ones Colt assembled the after the war?

    Either way I would like to have it looked over by a Colt expert and perhaps even have that part blued to match the rest of the gun… Or even the entire gun if that’s the best route. When I fit the new crane into place I decided to also do a new ejector rod, spring, and bushing thanks to Jack First’s website.

    If this gun is in fact supposed to be 45 ACP, is there any hope I will ever find one of those cylinders?

    Frame serial number: 165993

    Broken crane: 131826

    Replacement crane: 268028

    Thanks for your patience- much appreciated.





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    Here are my observations and they are worth exactly what you paid for them.

    1. Not 100% sure, because the pictures aren't real good, but I think you gun has already been reblued, it does not look like the original finish. If the sides of the hammer are blue then its been reblued they should be bright metal. The sides of the frame should have a brushed blue finish, they were not polished before bluing.

    2. The cylinder looks like the shorter 45 acp cylinder with enough space to use half moon clips. What makes you think it is a 45 long colt.

    3. the grips are not original

    4. The serial number and army number indicate that this was original a 1917 shipped to the army, it is not a later parts clean up gun.
    Last edited by Colt1860; 06-13-2019 at 07:51 AM.

  3. #3
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    Hey your price is right in my ball park so thank you. A moonclip does set in place nicely, but if I insert a 45 ACP cartridge it drops through until it hits a shoulder fairly deep into the cylinder. I don’t have a 45 Co,t cartridge to check it, but that was my suspicion. Is it possible somebody reamed it?

    Clearly it was a reblue because your observation is correct about the hammer. Seems like I might have a Frankenstein’s monster here.

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    I'm not sure at what serial number, but originally the Colt 1917 there was no headpsaceing ring or ridge in the chambers and the .45 ACP cartridge would slide right in without the clip.
    The lug on the sideplate looks like its a bit thicker indicating a .45 ACP cylinder.

    I wouldn't get the revolver re-blued, but getting the crane done may not be a bad idea.
    Ken
    "I like Colts and will die that way"

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    I forgot I had some 45 Colt wax bullet cartridges that I purchased at a garage sale. For what it is worth they do not fit in the cylinder.

    Perhaps the other photos will help as well. Thank you all again.




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    Can you close the cylinder with a fully loaded moon clip? Looking at the photo of the acp case down in the cylinder you would think a 45 colt would fit.
    Last edited by ussmanlovede36; 06-13-2019 at 10:52 AM.
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    The military serial number No.14876 coincides with Colt serial number 165993. The broken crane serial number 131826 would be earlier than the Model 1917 Revolver contract, and doubtfully would originally have been .45 ACP. The replacement crane 268028 would have been near military serial number 118000, and should headspace correctly with a .45 ACP without the half moon clips. Then there is the possibility that the the cylinder either isn't original to the crane, or has been modified.

    Forgot to add, but the revolver would originally have been shipped December 11, 1917, to Springfield Armory.
    Last edited by JohnnyP; 06-13-2019 at 12:09 PM.
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    Thanks a lot everyone.

    JohnnyP, so the replacement crane that I have added is likely from a proper 1917.45 ACP?

    The remaining mystery is why my grandpa’s cylinder has the notches so far forward. To make the revolver a it more proper should I start hunting for a correct 1917 cylinder?

    Is there anyone left to send this to in order to have the timing checked and so on?

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uplander View Post
    Is there anyone left to send this to in order to have the timing checked and so on?
    Yes, the forum recommends two Master pistolsmiths who specialize on Colt revolvers.

    Frank Glenn is a member and has done a good bit of work for members. He gets top ratings for turnaround time, prices, and very high ratings on quality of work.

    Frank Glenn-Glenn Custom Complete Gunsmithing Service Glendale AZ

    Spartan was trained at the Colt factory by a legendary Colt gunsmith.

    https://www.facebook.com/spartanfirearmcompany/

    You can check the timing yourself. The procedure is on the Colt Fever site, well down the page.
    It's in the Gunsmithing section as CHECKING THE TIMING OF THE OLD STYLE COLT REVOLVER.

    ColtFever

    I'd talk to one of the above gunsmiths before looking for a .45 ACP cylinder.
    First, it's possible they can alter the cylinder for the moon clips, and second, installing a different cylinder and ejector is a MAJOR pistolsmiths job.
    The parts don't drop in and used parts may not be usable at all .
    Last edited by dfariswheel; 06-14-2019 at 12:33 PM.
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    Others may correct me if I am wrong, but...all 1917 barrels I have seen are marked Colt DA 45. The difference between an ACP gun and a Colt gun lie in the barrel contour. The ACP has a contour like yours where it extends from the frame a little, then drops off leaving a slight shoulder. The Colt barrels have a straight tapering profile from the frame to the muzzle.
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